Month in Masks: The Best of December 2015/January 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's time for another Month in Masks! It's been 2 months since the last Month in Masks, where I briefly go over the best and worst masks I wore that month. Since there are over 8 weeks of masks to cover, I will be splitting the post into 2 parts: the Best and the Rest.

Before getting started, I want to thank instabloggers and friends Janessa and Maria for sending some of the best masks I used over this period. Thank you so much again.

These were the 5 best masks (out of ~70) for my dry, aging skin with enlarged pores in the dead of Chicago winter.

Mediental Healing Mask
Beholdhe celfie sans eyeglasses when you really need eyeglasses

Mediental is a fermented herbal cosmetics brand. Their products are created based on findings from the Hana Green Oriental Medical Clinic.

"This is a functional de-wrinkling mask pack that control energy and circulation, helping improve skin elasticity and regeneration with the best doctor's secret method 'Tanryeok-Bogangdan' fermenting and maturing 12 precious medicinal herbs in a bamboo bucket to improve skin wrinkles and elasticity."

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Witch Hazel Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Fermented Red Ginseng Extract, Fermented Foxglove Extract, Fermented Cordyceps Militaris Extract, Lactobacillus/Fermented Ginseng Extract, Lactobacillus/Acanthopanax Senticosus Root Extract, Lactobacillus/Fermented Deer Antler Velvet Extract, Fermented Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Fermented Rubus Coreanus Fruit Extract, Fermented Soy Extract, Fermented Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Fermented Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Extract, Lactobacillus/Fermented Royal Jelly Extract, Trehalose, Adenosine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Platinum Powder, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Malt Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

PURPOSE Anti-aging and wrinkle care, moisture and brightening.

    *Red Ginseng/Ginseng is great for aging skin due to its high antioxidant content of saponins and ginsenoside. It also contains polysaccharides which are great at moisturizing the skin.
     *The next Korean herbal medicinal ingredient is Foxglove which is an anti-inflammatory, which helps calm the skin.
     *The Cordyceps Militaris is another moisturizer that contains polysaccharides.
     *Also present are many other beneficial ingredients like Soy which is great for anti-aging and brightening the skin, Mistletoe, an antioxidant, Royal Jelly which is a great hydrator and source of nutrients to the skin, Adenosine, an anti-ager and cell activity regulating substance that originates from yeast, vitamins C and E for both anti-aging and brightening, and licorice root extract for brightening. The platinum powder also helps to temporarily brighten the skin. This mask also contains some potentially irritating ingredients for those with sensitive skin like fragrance and stronger preservatives. (Source for this and further ingredients analysis is Paula's Choice Beautypedia.)

MATERIAL It's very thick and soft t-shirt cotton (thick compared to Taiwanese thin silk masks) that is saturated until soft.
FIT It's got a wider fit than most masks, especially on the lower half of the face. It's square-shaped. There's ample room for the eyes and mouth. There's a little gapping on the side of the nose.
OTHER The mask is soaked in all the way through, no dripping, and there was no essence left in the packet, though one could wring the mask out, if you are in the habit of saving and applying mask essence.
ESSENCE Is beige and medium-thick, thinner than an Evercos (another Korean herbal cosmetics company) essence, if familiar.
SCENT Is herbal and strong, yet not as strong as the Evercos.
LASTING TIME over 45 minutes in Chicago winter.
FINISH The essence completely penetrates/absorbs into the skin and gives it volume from within. There is some residual stickiness and tackiness but it is minimal compared to other masks like those from Mediheal, Leaders, and Evercos.
RESULTS My skin was bright and glowy, and the wrinkles looked less deep. This is an excellent mask.

$2.85 each on eBay but sold out at the moment

Mediheal N.M.F. Aquaring Ampoule Mask

Mediheal is a cosmeceutical brand developed by aesthetic specialists and clinicians.

"The thirst of dry skin is resolved through active water systems such as Sodium hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, and more excelling in Natural Moisturizing Factor (N.M.F.) that exists in the horny layer (stratum corneum) of the skin as well as the moisturizing effect, while Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Fomes Officinalis (Mushroom) Extract, and more have the effect of managing loosened pores by adjusting sebum and tightening pores."

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Propylene Glycol, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Fomes Officinalis (Mushroom) Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Methylparaben, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Trehalose, Glycine, Serine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Leucine, Glycerin, Alanine, Lysine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Cysteine, Methionine, Alcohol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceramide 3, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin.

PURPOSE Deep moisture and pore tightening

    *Witch hazel is an antioxidant and an astringent ingredient that regulates sebum and helps maintain pores. However, high amounts of witch hazel *can* irritate the skin.
     *Fomes Officinalis (Mushroom) is another astringent that manages sebum and pores.
     *Allantoin is a skin soothing anti-inflammatory ingredient that can soften and condition the skin.
     *Also present are many other beneficial ingredients Adenosine, an anti-ager and cell activity regulating substance that originates from yeast, licorice root extract for brightening, Glutamic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate which are both extra-strength hydrators/humectants, vitamin E, an antioxidant, and the Natural Moisturizing Factor which is made up of amino acids that help to moisturize and repair the stratum corneum of the skin as stated above. This mask contains some potential acne triggers and irritants so please use accordingly.

MATERIAL It's very thick and soft t-shirt cotton that is saturated until soft.
FIT It's smaller than the Mediental mask above, but has enough material that it tucks underneath the chin. The eye and mouth area is the ideal shape for my particular face shape if you are in any way similar. There is minimal gapping around the nose. There looks to be gapping around the edges of the face, but it smoothes away to a close fit.
OTHER Again, the mask is soaked in all the way through, no dripping, and there was no essence left in the packet, though one could wring the mask out, if you are in the habit of saving and applying mask essence.
ESSENCE Is clear and thick, Mediheal has one of the thickest essences/serums in any mask I've ever tried... Which is great for my dry skin.
SCENT Is a generic cosmetic scent, medium-strength and it dissipated during the wear of the mask.
LASTING TIME over 45 minutes in Chicago winter.
FINISH The essence is very thick and moisturizing. It drapes over the skin and manages to absorb into it a decent amount, erasing my fine lines and wrinkles. When I remove the mask, there is residual stickiness, which I like to get rid of by patting the next step of my skincare routine into my face. Recently this has been an oil mixed into a liquid.
RESULTS This is the type of mask that my skin really enjoys as it hydrates to the point where I feel comfortable eliminating a step or two from my routine when wearing it. My skin always looks and feels moisturized to the max and really lifted/plump around my smile lines and frown lines. There was some pore tightening and my pores looked clear and closed after using this mask even the next morning.

$16.54 for a pack of 10 on Amazon $2.80 at Skin18 where you can get 25% off using code SPECIAL25OFFJOAN until February 20th on any order

LaLa Cynical Rabbit Teatree Relaxing Silky Mask Pack

Lala is the brand and they collaborated with Kakaotalk on Hojo character themed masks.

"Lala Cynical Rabbit Tea Tree Relaxing Silky Mask Pack contains extracts like tea tree, mugwort, and houttuynia cordata. Those ingredients provide the sensitive skin with pure and moist [ingredients] and help to alleviate skin trouble by soothing. Also silky wearing sensation of the mask without gap helps to deliver active ingredient in essence to the skin effectively and to make glowy skin."

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Disodium EDTA, Panthenol, Trehalose, Betaine, Silk Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Beta-Glucan, Charcoal Powder, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Volcanic Ash, Centella Asiatica Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea tree) Extract (3000 ppm), Psidium Guajava Leaf Extract, Rose Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rhus Semialata Gall Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Carbomer, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80, Triethanolamine, Adenosine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance

PURPOSE Calming blemishes, moisturizing skin, calming sensitive skin, and general anti-aging

    *Sodium Hyaluronate is the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid, which is a substance present in our bodies that helps to attract and retain water in the skin. The Sodium Hyaluronate molecule is smaller than the Hyaluronic Acid which helps it to penetrate into the skin more easily.
     *Panthenol which is a great hydrator/humectant that also helps maintain and repair the skin.
     *Silk is a potent antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress from UV and the environment to the skin.
     *Other ingredients of note are the Portulaca Oleracea which is an anti-inflammatory that contains alpha-linoleic acids and antioxidants. The Beta-Glucan, which is a polysaccharide (moisturizer) that also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, Charcoal/Witch Hazel/Volcanic Ash that all help to regulate sebum and pore visibility, both Centella Asiatica and Teatree which are antibacterial and used to treat acne (Teatree can irritate), and some anti-inflammatory plant extracts like the Scutellaria Baicalensis and Houttuynia Cordata. Morus Alba is known to inhibit hyperpigmentation while Allantoin soothes and softens skin inflamation. Adenosine and vitamin E act as an anti-aging duo. This mask contains some potential irritants, and photoreactive ingredients for those with sensitive skin.

MATERIAL It's a thick soft, cotton, very much like a Leaders Clinic or Mediheal type mask, saturated with essence so it looks almost clear.
FIT It's a little wider the forehead just a tad shorter than other masks. There is the slightest bit of gapping around the nose. The fit actually reminds me a bit of My Scheming if the forehead were shorter.
OTHER This mask didn't come with extra essence in the packet nor did the essence drip from the mask.
ESSENCE Is medium-thick and clear.
SCENT Is lemony clean with a touch of eucalyptus. The scent dissipates quickly.
LASTING TIME 45 minutes in Chicago winter.
FINISH The essence absorbed completely into the skin and there was a little residual tackiness.
RESULTS Minimized my pores and degunked them (though I use retin-A nightly, I did see a difference with the mask), and deeply moisturized my skin despite the astringent and oil absorbent ingredients in the mask: tea tree, volcanic ash, witch hazel, charcoal powder, etc.

~$9.98 for 10 masks (not including shipping) at RoseRoseShop

Illi Green Tea Brightening Mask Total Aging Care

Illi is an herbal cosmetics brand owned by Amore Pacific that provides solutions for both face and body care.

"A microfiber sheet that provides focused care on skin troubles + Korean FDA acknowledged brightening capabilities. Makes dull and troubled skin bright and calm [sic]. Effective ingredients: Brightening green tea, moisturizing soy, elasticity effects of ginseng, and the glow-giving effects of camellia oil."

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, PEG-32, Hydrogenated Polydecene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Arginine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Camellia Oil, Ginseng, Green Tea, Natto Gum, Fragrance

    *Niacinamide is a potent antioxidant that works to brighten skin and fight hyperpigmentation. It also helps to repair skin by increasing ceramide and fatty acid levels in the skin.
     *Sodium Hyaluronate is the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid, which is a substance present in our bodies that helps to attract and retain water in the skin. The Sodium Hyaluronate molecule is smaller than the Hyaluronic Acid which helps it to penetrate into the skin more easily.
     *Arginine, an amino acid and antioxidant, also aids in wound healing.

     *Other ingredients of note are Camellia Oil which not only moisturizes but also protects the skin as a source of antioxidants, ginseng which is another source of antioxidants and moisturizers, green tea, an anti-inflammatory and source of antioxidant (photoprotective EGCG), and Natto Gum which is fermented Soy, a skin-brightener and a source of antioxidants

PURPOSE Moisturizing, calming blemishes and inflammation, and brightening dull skin
MATERIAL It's a 2-piece mask. Both pieces are thick, white microfiber that carries cream/milky essence well. It's weighty enough that it almost traps and forces the essence into the skin.
FIT There is more than enough overlap between the bottom sheet and the top sheet. There is no gapping on the side of the nose. It takes some positioning to get the eye holes lined up while making sure your forehead is covered.
OTHER This mask comes between 2 plastic nettings.
ESSENCE It's a creamy essence that is so soothing for dry winter skin.
SCENT Not spot on green tea, but rather a bit earthier like marshmallow root.
LASTING TIME 40 minutes in Chicago winter.
FINISH The essence is creamy/milky so it doesn't fully absorb into the skin, there is a residual... film for lack of a better word after using this mask which I patted into the skin.
RESULTS Cools the skin which led to the evening out of the red tones in my skin, and brightened.

$8.14 for a box of 4 at KoreaDepart | $9 for a box of 3 at Insider Beauty | $4 per mask at SkinMilkBar

My Scheming Goat Milk Moisturizing & Brightening Mask

My Scheming is a Taiwanese mask brand.

"Goat milk enriched with high proteins, milk fats, & variants of vitamins, its mild texture can be easily absorbed by skin, prevent skin dryness while providing skin sufficient nutrition. Its outstanding hydrating effect, keep supplying skin hydration, repair skin wrinkles, smoothes skin while brightening skin. Leaves your skin fair, supple, & silky smooth."

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Propylene Glycol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Goat Milk, Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhetinate, PEG-120 Jojoba Esters, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Wool, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance

PURPOSE Deep moisture and brightening.

     *Chamomile treats acne, inflammation, and is a source of antioxidants.
     *Cucumber is an antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from oxidative stress. Interestingly, Cucumbers also contain vitamin C and caffeic acid.
     *Salix Alba (Willow) Bark is a natural source of salicin, which is converted upon application into salicylic acid, a BHA that is helpful for acne-fighting and pore care when used under the right conditions (sun protection, managing skin sensitivity). It is also an anti-inflammatory.
     *Other ingredients of note are the Goat Milk which has been marketed as an excellent moisturizer and source of vitamins and minerals though claims have yet to be backed by a body of research, Sodium Hyaluronate, which is a strong hydrator/humectant able to penetrate the skin better than Hyaluronic Acid.

MATERIAL My Scheming's 'invisible' silk which is soft, thin enough to wear super comfortably on the face while not so thin that it dries up too quickly and stretchy.
FIT Fits an oval/square shape face really nicely. There is a little gapping on the sides of the nose.
OTHER This mask comes with a plastic backing.
ESSENCE It's a clear essence with a medium thickness. Watch out that it doesn't get into your mouth as it tastes very bitter.
SCENT Initially and once on, it smells like a normal sheet mask to me. Others have mentioned an off, slightly rancid scent that was lost on my nose while wearing the mask, but revisiting the mask package after some time has passed today, there is a bit of an off-scent which may or may not have been present at the time of the mask wearing. I still enjoyed this mask a ton.
LASTING TIME 45 minutes in Chicago winter.
FINISH The essence fully absorbs into the skin, plumping it up from within. There is residual tackiness.
RESULTS Completely delivers on delivering this dry skin gal deep moisture and actually brightens!

$14.90 for a box of 10 at YesStyle | $18.04 for a box of 10 at eBay

These were my top 5 of the past 2 months which I must admit may be almost too predictable with Mediheal, Mediental, and My Scheming heading up the ranks. The Illi mask was a surprise hit! I had been reading others' reviews on Illi masks, and had come away thinking that Illi masks do not come standardized by mask material, fit, and essence and was not planning to explore the line much more. The Lala masks are too cute and are not only very affordable, but can stand up to the priciest masks in terms of effects!

How was your month in masks?
Have you tried any of these masks?

I would also like to ask if you would like for me to review some of the masks we are carrying over at, or if you would like for me to keep the blog and the business separated. Please let me know!

Thank you for reading and it's almost the weekend! Enjoy the rest of your week!

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